Panama - Libraries and museums
The National Library of Panama, located in Panama City, was founded in 1892 as Biblioteca Colón and reorganized as the National Library in 1942. It is a branch of the Ministry of Education's public library system and has over 200,000 volumes. There are more than 40 other public libraries and branches. The National Archives, established in 1924, contain historical documents, books, and maps, as well as administrative papers of government agencies and a judicial section with court records. The Biblioteca Pública Morales has 280,000 volumes, while the Simon Bolivar Library at the University of Panama has holdings of over 267,000 volumes. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Balboa has 44,000 volumes.
The Instituto Panameño de Arte, founded in 1964, displays excellent collections of pre-Columbian art. Newer museums in Panama City include the Museum of Nationhood (dedicated in 1974); the Museum of Colonial Religious Art (1974); the Museum of the History of Panama (1977), which exhibits documents and objects of historical value; and the Museum of Panamanian Man (1976), with archaeological, ethnographic, and folkloric displays.